Waiting For Pops
Waiting For Pops, a mainstream biographical novel, is a tale of a young boy’s appalling mistreatment at the hands of his alcoholic mother. It is a tale of spousal secrets and parental lies. It is a tale of love, friendship, and, above all else, betrayal. Pops is seen through the eyes of an innocent boy growing steadily into manhood in 1950s Chicago. Johnny Ryba tells his story and transports the reader into his small, blue-collar existence—his mother’s alcoholism, his much-loved father’s sudden death in an auto accident, his beloved little sister’s autism. Later, as the reader accompanies Johnny into his teen years, they experience as well the painful heartbreak of his first love and loss.
The storyline rapidly evolves and ultimately centers on a mystery that Johnny attempts to solve as a mature adult, resulting in a shocking revelation that reverses almost everything he once believed about his mother and father, as well as his own harrowing past. He inadvertently discovers his parents’ role as accomplices in a lifelong conspiracy of silence, and also becomes aware of a misplaced affection for his deceased father. Johnny must finally come to terms with the most important aspect of his life: the truth about his parents, and about himself, too.
“WAITING FOR POPS, author John Riffice’s initial foray into the world of fiction, ends up a smashing success! A story of spousal abuse as well as love, friendship, and coming of age make this tome a ‘must read’ for anyone and everyone who just can’t get enough of rock-solid fiction. A literary ‘Wow!’ for readers of all ages!” – Ann Kempner Fisher, Literary Editor
“John Riffice is a born storyteller, gifted with a mastery of emotional comic nuance and a swaggering sense of character. His WAITING FOR POPS electrifies the page in the most remarkable of ways. This thing shimmers with insight and pulses with plot that never stops barreling forth-a grand achievement from a fine new literary force with whom to reckon. And to applaud most vigorously.” – Bill Zehme, Author of New York Times bestseller THE WAY YOU WEAR YOUR HAT: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art Of Livin’ and LOST IN THE FUNHOUSE: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman
Dog and Butterfly
From John Philip Riffice, critically acclaimed author of Waiting For Pops, comes a poignant story of fate and the beguiling art of moving on.
After his brother’s untimely passing, Cam Freeland takes in his sister-in-law and four year-old nephew, Charlotte and Jimmy, just until they get on their feet and find a place of their own. But that day never comes. Cam enjoys having them in his life, and they enjoy being there. Cam raises Jimmy almost as though the boy were his son, forming a bond of love, respect, and friendship that will last beyond a lifetime. In doing so, young Jimmy slowly discovers that his uncle Cam is far nobler than he could have ever imagined, a stand-up guy in every respect.
Except one. Cam has a skeleton in his closet, one which shames him terribly, and fate calls on Jimmy to investigate further. He does, and the secret he uncovers surprises him. And so does the next. And the next after that. But the biggest revelation of all lies in Jimmy’s discovery that fate controls every aspect of his life and that there are no accidents and there are no coincidences, just as Uncle Cam had always told him.
“Fate rarely feels this poetic and perfectly explored– in one man’s emotional archaeological dig of his own gut, a brilliantly rendered revisiting of each ugly demon that ever haunted him (and so often haunt us all). Riffice lets us inhabit the souls of his lead characters, almost a little too expertly. He feels people and writes them as he feels them, all so wisely–a rare gift.”
—Bill Zehme, Bestselling author of The Way You Wear Your Hat
“A must-read not only for the most avid readers, but especially for anyone who has battled their inner demons and somehow emerged the victor. Without reservation, this is the book to read!”
—Dev Kennedy, Central Regional Vice-President, Actors Equity Association
“A page-turner so enthralling that the reader hopes it goes on forever. Author John Riffice hits back-to-back home runs first with Waiting For Pops and now with Dog and Butterfly. I can hardly wait to see what he’s cooking up next!”
—Kerra Weinert, Independent Book Critic
Author John Riffice passed the first half of his adult life working in heavy industrial construction. After a serious work-related injury, he pursued a lifelong interest in teaching and took up a career in education, culminating in a rewarding life instructing children with disabilities. This experience, coupled with his understanding of the challenges facing single parents as well as all the intimacies of alcoholism, enable him to weave interesting tales of love, friendship, betrayal and deceit. He demonstrates an uncanny ability to paint a unique literary landscape as seen through the eyes of both children and mature adults. He has a grown daughter and lives in Chicago with Karen, his wife of twenty years.